Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Readers follow the thoughts of Billie Jo and life in the Panhandle in the time of the Dust Bowl. She struggles with her desire to stay on the land with her family and her dream to play piano on a grander stage. After being hit by a tragedy more powerful than the storms, Billie Jo and her father must find a way to live with themselves, each other, and the dust.
I enjoyed this children’s/ YA book. It’s an odd combination of historical fiction and poetry that blends together beautifully. It flows easily and the format makes for a quick, seamless read. The characters were surprisingly well rounded for a story written in first-person poetry. Sad, charming, and hopeful, Billie Jo’s voice is strong throughout. Her affection for the piano and her friend, Mad Dog, are uplifting even through the tragedies she faces.